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Allen 'semi' jinx strikes again

snooker: Antrim's Mark Allen suffered a kick on a black and a kick in the teeth as his semi-final jinx in major tournaments continued at the Masters at Wembley yesterday.

When Allen led Hong Kong's leading cueman Marco Fu 4-1 it appeared as though the 24-year-old left-hander was heading for his debut in the final of one of snooker's showpiece events.

But an untimely bad contact led to him unluckily missing a black off its spot early in frame six.

Fu pounced with a 130 clearance, and then added runs of 97 and 136 for 4-4 and shaded the closing two frames on green, then blue to complete a 6-4 victory.

Fu, a former Grand Prix and Premier League champion, goes through to face China's Ding Junhui today, over the best of 19 frames. Ding beat Jamie Cope 6-3 to set up professional snooker's first all-Asian final.


gaelic games: Offaly were sent packing from the Walsh Cup (SH) yesterday in the wind and rain at Banagher as Fitzgibbon Cup champions NUIG hit 0-16 with the elements at their backs in the second half to record a 0-22 to 1-10 victory.

The reward for the Galway side is a quarter-final date with Kilkenny next weekend.


In nearly unplayable conditions at Austin Stack Park, Cork IT edged out an experimental Kerry side 1-7 to 0-6 in the Waterford Crystal Cup (SH) yesterday afternoon.

The only goal came in the 24th minute. It was created by a surging Colm Casey burst that set up full-forward Ryan Clifford to shoot to the net.


TWO goals in as many minutes midway through the second half from Tomas Seale and Jamie Lawlor proved the difference as Roscommon saw off Louth 2-10 to 2-7 in the Kehoe Cup (SH) in Termonfeckin yesterday.


Goal-poacher Cillian Starr bagged a brace as Dicksboro (Kilkenny) powered past Kilburn Gaels (London) 2-13 to 2-4 in the All-Ireland Club IHC quarter-final in difficult conditions at Ruislip.


Dublin South carried too much hurling know-how as they accounted for Carlow Schools 1-14 to 0-5 in a sub-standard Leinster Colleges SHC A tie at windswept Pairc Ui Bhriain, Carlow yesterday. The victory earns them a quarter-final crack at reigning All-Ireland Colleges champions St Kieran's of Kilkenny.


Derry notched all their scores from open play as they began their Dr McKenna Cup campaign with a win at Kingspan/Breffni Park.

Conleth Gilligan's five first- half points propelled the visitors into a commanding 0-11 to 0-3 interval lead. Thereafter, Paddy Bradley's 59th-minute goal was all the cushion Derry needed to stave off a Cavan comeback fuelled by Michael Brennan's soccer-style goal on the hour mark.

Meanwhile, Jim McGuinness's era as Donegal manager got off to a decent start with a workmanlike win against UUJ in miserable conditions in Ballybofey.

The reigning McKenna Cup champions made a steady start against the under-strength students to lead 0-7 to 0-4 at the interval. After the break, Donegal, thanks mainly to Dermot Molloy's five points in all, kept UUJ at arm's length, with Karl Lacey, Adrian Hanlon and Leo McLoone all grabbing a couple of scores. Jason McAnulla top-scored for UUJ with three fine points.

Goals in either half were vital as Antrim claimed a 2-12 to 0-9 win at a rain-swept Casement Park last night.

Liam Bradley's charges were in superb form and led by 1-7 to 0-2 at half time, with Dean O'Neill netting a 32nd minute goal. The students bounced back to cut the deficit to four points entering the final quarter, but a late Kevin Niblock goal secured a Saffron win.

A point by half-back Declan McKenna a minute into added time gave Armagh a 2-15 to 3-11 victory over Down in the McKenna Cup in Newry.

Down looked in control with two second-half goals from Benny Coulter but two similar scores for Brian Mallon and Anto Duffy kept Armagh in contention and they scored the final three points for victory.


racing: Quito De La Roque demonstrated stamina in spades as he lifted the Grade Two Woodlands Park 100 Club Novice Chase at Naas.

The 11/10 favourite was one of the first under pressure after disputing the early running with Royal De La Thinte and Western Charmer but he dug deep to reassert himself from the first-named at the last.

Royal De La Thinte took a tired fall at that obstacle which left Quito De La Roque in front with Western Charmer 14 lengths adrift in second.


golf: South Africans Charl Schwartzel, Thomas Aiken and Garth Mulroy overcame nervous third rounds to share the lead heading into today's final round of the Joburg Open. Schwartzel and Mulroy went around the par-71 east course of the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington GC in two-under 69s.

Aiken managed the best round of the trio, a 68, as the leaders ended on 15 under.

Gareth Maybin was on eight under after a third round 72 while Darren Clarke only managed a level-par 71 to remain on four-under, one shot ahead of Colm Moriarty.


basketball: Defending champions St Mary's are through to the final of the Senior Men's Cup after defeating Titan's of Galway 80-68 at the Neptune Arena yesterday.

Facing them in the final will be CHM Ballon with consecutive three pointers from Giedrius Trakauskas and Mazvydas Cepliauskas proving decisive in their 86-58 win over St Vincent's.

Carol McCarthy, meanwhile, turned in a great all-round display as her team UL defeated Tralee Imperials 66-58. Facing them in the Senior women's final will be Ulster Rockets, who beat Meteors 62-55.

Sunday Indo Sport